Leeds firefighters support DIY SOS with Children in Need challenge

Firefighters in Leeds have been rolling up their sleeves to help BBC’s DIY SOS with one of their biggest challenges for Children in Need.


The DIY SOS Big Build has seen 200 volunteers and a team from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) helping to create a £1 million home for the Getaway Girls - a charity that empowers young girls and women by building their confidence and supporting each other.

Yesterday morning (Monday 26 September), BBC presenters Zoe Ball and Scott Mills were at the site live on Radio 2, where they spoke with volunteers, organisers, and firefighters. They were also filming the ‘big reveal’ part of the hit BBC TV show, which is due to air in a few weeks’ time.

Zoe Ball said people had been working through the night and in all weathers to get the project finished on time. She said: “I can’t even tell you how huge this site is, it’s quite incredible the amount of people that have been working nonstop over the last 14 days.

“The camaraderie between the team and everyone, having to work on top of each other in an impossible situation. It’s all for an incredible cause, as this building is becoming the base of the Getaway Girls, a fabulous charity helping so many young women in Leeds. They help to raise aspirations, provide much needed support and create opportunities to build a better future.”

Creating the building has been one of the biggest challenges for DIY SOS and it’s estimated the costs involved equals £1 million. The new building includes counselling rooms, a garden, offices, activity spaces, a creche, and a music and media studio. Firefighters have rolled their sleeves up to join in with the volunteers, as well as making sure the building is safe and has the correct certification.

Scott Mills said Children in Need has provided funding for the Getaway Girls since 2010. He added: “It’s incredible what’s happened here in less than two weeks.

“There have been 200 volunteers a day donating 20,000 hours of their time and everyone has pulled together. This is one of the biggest builds they have ever done on DIY SOS in 23 years, and it’s going to make a real difference to the lives of girls and young women who are supported by Getaway Girls. This new building is much needed and is going to be their safe place.”

Flavia Docherty, CEO at Getaway Girls, said: “A massive thank you to the firefighters for their hard work over the last two weeks. They, and the other volunteers, have done an incredible job creating our new home. We are thrilled with the building and it means so much that we have got a dedicated space, which will allow us to continue focusing on supporting the girls and young women. Every single room we’ve seen feels special and I can’t wait to get the girls in and using it – it feels like it has been made perfectly to suit us.”

Executive producer of the show Jo Bishop said: “Leeds has really come together to support this year's DIY SOS Big Build for BBC Children in Need. We’ve been amazed by the  hundreds of volunteers that have turned out to help us. 

“A big thank you to the West Yorkshire fire service, your arrival quite literally helped the build get off the ground in the first few days. Your teamwork and positive attitude helped us complete one of our most ambitious projects yet in under two weeks.  The result is a brand new home for the Getaway Girls charity, supporting the young women of Leeds.”
Group manager Toby May said it was incredible to be involved in the project. “Crews from Leeds have been supporting the build over the last two weeks and they have loved it – I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from those involved,” he said. “Not only have our firefighters been helping with the build, but they have also been there from a fire protection and certification perspective and have done a sterling job.

“As we have been involved with the project since the start, we were invited down for the ‘big reveal’ yesterday, which was emotional for everyone involved. The new building will be a fantastic base for this charity, which has helped support and inspire so many girls and young women – they deserve to have somewhere special, and now they have it.”